Tales from the Terminal Room
February 2005, Issue No. 60
Please Note: This is an archive copy of the newsletter. The information and links that it contains are not updated.
PDF version (50 KB)
Tales from the Terminal Room ISSN 1467-338X
Tales from the Terminal Room (TFTTR) is a monthly newsletter, with the exception of July and August which are published as a single issue. TFTTR includes reviews and comparisons of information sources; updates to the RBA Web site Business Sources and other useful resources; dealing with technical and access problems on the Net; and news of RBA's training courses and publications.
In this issue:
If you are contemplating switching your browser and/or email client to Firefox and Thunderbird, or have already taken the plunge and want help with commands and functionality there are three forthcoming books to look out for:
There is also a "voting" link (a thumbs up graphic) next to each extract so that you can tell BrainBoost when it gets it right. This enables Brainboost to learn from previous questions and user votes and to automatically improve over time.
That is the theory. In practice it had no problem with my queries on who directed the duck hunt cartoon (answer: Tex Avery), which US presidents were assassinated (answer: Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, Kennedy) and which UK prime ministers were assassinated (answer: Spencer Perceval). However, it found "Who is Karen Blakeman?" more difficult to answer:-( Brainboost came up with some 3 year old information on a course I was running at the time in London, and "Karen Blakeman is chairing the Concessions Committee, and will be needing LOTS of help here". You bet I will! I know nothing about the Concessions Committee - obviously another Karen Blakeman. The regular search results taken from a range of search tools fared better on the last one.
Worth a look and an interesting alternative answer/reference tool to answers.com.
The Government Says
The quick search on the home page enables you to search by post code but you can refine your search or use the Advanced Search to limit your results by street, town or locality, freehold/leasehold, house type (detached, terraced, flat etc.) and date. If you use up your 20 searches you can top them up either by recommending a friend for 5 free searches or by signing up to a weekly newsletter which contains a voucher for 20 free searches.
Market & Industry Research
I really like:
What is missing is:
The layout and personalisation is saved using cookies. You can also share your customisation with a friend or colleague by emailing the URL of your customised page.
Using current news to kick-start deeper research
Following the Indian Ocean tsunami, I heard someone on the radio say that the Indo-australian plate is splitting up. I would like to learn more but my searches keep coming up with hundreds of learned articles about how the tectonic plates were formed and split over millions of years. All worthy stuff but not what I was looking for. Even limiting the search by date does not help.
The clue to tackling this search effectively is that the topic is current news. You did not say which radio station it was but it is always worth checking their web site to see if they have any background on the story. If not, then there are three free current news services that I always try in these circumstances: Google News (http://news.google.com/), Yahoo News (http://search.yahoo.com/) and MSN News (http://www.msn.com/).
All three came up with stories - all different - when I searched on indo-australian plate and gave the names of researchers and institutions in Australia that are looking at this. Quite a bit of information was supplied in the articles themselves but if you wanted to take it further you could search the institutions' web sites, or see if any of the researchers' papers are available in Google Scholar (http://scholar.google.com/) or via FindArticles (http://www.findarticles.com/).
Gmail hijacked my news alerts :-(
I have been using the Google news alerts ever since they were launched. It is a fantastic service and means that I can have all the latest news on my favourite topics sent to my main email address.
Just over a month ago I was invited to set up a Gmail account, which I did. I don't use it much but thought it might be useful when signing up to services that don't have clear, unambiguous privacy policies. If or when the processed luncheon meat starts to arrive I can just ditch that Gmail account.
I log in every 2-3 days and for the first six weeks or so everything was fine. Then I noticed that my main email address was rather quiet on the news alert front. I was not unduly concerned - probably some delay on the mail server or perhaps maintenance at Google News. Then I logged onto my Gmail account and saw to my horror that *all* of my news alerts were in the Gmail inbox. Worse still, when I tried to log into my alerts account using my main email address I was told that there was no account under that name. Gmail had unilaterally, and without my permission, decided to transfer all of my alerts to my Gmail account and to delete my original alert account.
To say I was gobsmacked is an understatement.
I thought I may have inadvertently changed the email address for the alerts but the FAQ quite clearly states that you cannot do that. So I deleted all the alerts from the Gmail account, reset up an alert account under my rba email address, and started redoing all of my alerts.
I tried to contact Google asking them to explain how and without my permission 1)My news alerts were diverted to my Gmail account 2)My original alerts account was deleted. My first attempt ended up with an email telling me I had sent my request to the wrong place. I followed their instructions and resubmitted my "feedback" and received the following: "Thank you for taking the time to report this issue. While we aren't able to respond directly to your report, we're working on these issues. Thanks so much for alerting us to the problem."
I was not so much fuming as about to erupt with supervolcano ferocity.
In discussions with other Gmail users a couple of people said that they found that new alerts were automatically set up under their Gmail account. Further investigation revealed that this was dependent on whether or not one is logged in to the Gmail account when setting up the new alerts. None of them, though, had had existing alerts diverted. We have attempted to replicate my experience but have failed dismally.
At the time of writing, I have had no response from Google other than the autoresponder messages. I appreciate that Gmail and Google News are both beta but I really would like to know how on earth it happened so I can take precautions to try and prevent it happening again. In the meantime I have given up using Gmail.
The FAQ on Alerts says in response to the question "Can I change my email address and still get Google Alerts?", "Sure. But you'll need to delete your current alerts and re-enter them using your new email address." Perhaps what I have experienced is a new "feature" - beta of course. You can move your alerts to any email address as long as it is a Gmail address!
NetSnippets is a tool that enables Internet users to save, organise and manage search results and web based information locally on their computer and to generate reports.
The free edition saves and manages text, images, links and entire web pages. The information can be organised into folders of your choosing and you can add your own comments and notes. You can also share that information with others.
The Standard and Professional editions (priced US $79.95 and US $129.95 respectively) have additional options for selective capture of information, editing snippets, adding keywords and custom fields, integration with MS Word, generating abstracts, creating contents pages and indexes, and generating bibliographies using MLA, APA or Chicago style. A comparison of the three editions and their features can be found at http://www.netsnippets.com/compare.htm
Requires Windows 98/2000/ME/XP and can be used with Internet Explorer, Mozilla, Mozilla Firefox, and Netscape browsers.
Searching the Internet: Google & Beyond
Advanced Internet Search Strategies
Untangling your web: effective web site management
TFTTR Contact Information
Karen Blakeman, RBA Information Services
TFTTR archives: http://www.rba.co.uk/tfttr/archives/index.shtml
Subscribe and Unsubscribe
To subscribe to the newsletter fill in the online registration form at http://www.rba.co.uk/tfttr/index.shtml
To unsubscribe, use the registration form at http://www.rba.co.uk/tfttr/index.shtml and check the unsubscribe radio button.
Subscribers' details are used only to enable distribution of the newsletter Tales from the Terminal Room. The subscriber list is not used for any other purpose, nor will it be disclosed by RBA or made available in any form to any other individual, organisation or company.
This publication may be copied and distributed in its entirety. Individual sections may NOT be copied or distributed in any form without the prior written agreement of the publisher.
Copyright (c) 2005 Karen Blakeman. All rights reserved
|This page was last updated on 18th March 2005||Copyright © 2005 Karen Blakeman.
All rights reserved